Harding University Partnership is the first elementary school in the Santa Barbara Unified School District to receive the All Kids Bike program to teach kindergarten students how to ride bikes in PE class.
‘When are we going to ride bikes in PE?’ is a common question asked by Harding students at the start of the school year. (Courtesy photo)
In his All Kids Bike application, Kyle Marme, Harding Elementary School’s PE teacher, wrote: “The fulfillment of this request, in conjunction with my implementation of the All Kids Bike curriculum, would be instrumental in providing all of my kindergarten-2nd Grade students with the life skill of riding a bike.
“Furthermore, this would have a significant impact on the community as a whole, as a great number of its members rely on bike riding as a primary mode of transportation.”
In December, Harding’s STEAM program including 4th-, 5th- and 6th-graders will gather to help assemble the new bikes for the kindergarten classes. The next day, the 25 new bikes will be unveiled to the kindergartners at the school.
“I know that my physical education program will be significantly enhanced,” Kyle said. “All of my kindergarten-2nd-grade students will be well-prepared for the bicycle education program that they will be exposed to in the following years.
“Additionally, this would strengthen the sense of community at my school, as I am confident that several parents would act as volunteers to assist with the program. I greatly appreciate your consideration.”
Harding University Partnership School serves 376 students annually, and is expecting 175 students will receive the All Kids Bike training each year. The program will last at least five years, impacting about 875 students.
Kyle is in his fifth year of teaching physical education at Harding University Partnership School. Since his first year there, he has partnered with the local SB Bike & COAST (Coalition for Sustainable Transportation). SB Bike & COAST visits junior high and elementary schools in Santa Barbara County to deliver a bicycle education course that covers bike safety, rules of the road, and bike maintenance.
The program is provided for all 2nd-6th grade students at Harding University Partnership School. One of the first questions many of those students ask Kyle at the start of the school year is: “When are we going to ride bikes in PE?”
Last year, when the coronavirus caused all in-person instruction to be put on hold, and students participated in distance learning via Zoom, Kyle started an after-school Bike Club, and met up with students at the school parking lot for hour-long group rides around the neighborhood.
What started as a small group of kids and adults quickly took off and before long, there were more than 20 students showing up regularly, often with their parents who joined the ride.
Kyle created a video to promote the launch of the Bike Club, that can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpLBywmm6oY.
All Kids Bike is a national campaign of the nonprofit Strider Education Foundation to put Learn-To-Ride bicycle programs into public schools. The inclusive program consists of training for the teachers, a detailed curriculum, a fleet of Strider balance bikes, pedal conversion kits, dial-adjust helmets, and five years of support.
As of Oct. 31, 62,529 students in 410 schools across 46 states have benefited from the program in 2021, and 312,645 students have benefited in the last five years. See www.allkidsbike.org.